CHILDREN suffering from nerve damage or a lack of movement in their hands after an injury are recovering quickly and effectively thanks to innovative new hand splints created at Redditch’s Alexandra Hospital.
After a hand fracture or dislocation, patients often suffer reduced movement as a result of their injuries.
Once healed, they need therapy to strengthen the muscles and tendons in their hand to restore their full movement.
But Occupational Therapists (OTs) at the Alexandra Hospital found children often don’t complete the exercises so to help this, the specialist staff have created inventive new splints personalised to each patient with games or mini toys to encourage children to do their exercises.
By making the exercises personal and meaningful to each individual patient a marked improvement in outcomes has been noted for patients.
Ten-year-old Lydia Amor was suffering from long term nerve damage and hypersensitivity after breaking and dislocating three fingers following an accident on her scooter.
To help her OT Sunita Farmah built Lydia a special hand splint that involves her making specific movements to run a tiny ball through a toy maze made from thermoplastic on the back of her hand.
Completing the toy maze involves Lydia having to improve the range of movement in her wrist to move the ball around the maze in the splint, which has different scoring challenges so as her movement improves so will her wrist strength and balance – as well as her scores!
Lydia’s mum, Katie said: “Sunita has helped Lydia gain better use of her hand with her ongoing patience and creativity. She goes above and beyond and this new splint has added an element of fun to Lydia’s therapy.
“Lydia also likes the idea that the splint is made especially for her as it makes her feel special, so she can forget about the pain and enjoy the fun the splint creates.”
Sunita said: “We look at the whole person, not just at their hand, so we try to make our treatments meaningful and personalised to them.
“We know some of our children don’t like to do the exercises they’re given, so we try to make it fun and a good challenge for them to complete.”
Katie added: “I can’t thank Sunita enough for her ongoing support and help. She is amazing at her job and is so caring and supportive; nothing has been too much trouble.”
The hand service at Alexandra Hospital treats around 600 different patients every year, for conditions like rheumatoid arthritis, and fibromyalgia as well as finger fractures, dislocations and tendon or nerve damage.